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Archives: Sub Pillars
The internet has created a wonderful new world for learning, working and playing.
The United Nations Children’s Fund has identified that one in three internet users globally is a child. For children, digital technologies are the norm by which they connect, socialise, improve their skills and expand their horizons. Sometimes though, the internet can be misused, harming people and restricting their rights.
MTN believes that everyone deserves the benefits of modern connected life, and that all users of our products have the right to freely and safely enjoy the connectivity and solutions we offer. We expect our customers to enjoy these rights in a responsible manner. This is especially important when considering the rights of children, who are more vulnerable and depend on adults to safeguard their rights.
MTN has a zero-tolerance approach to the abuse and exploitation of children. To ensure responsible use of digital communications, we are guided in our efforts by the work of global organisations and law enforcement authorities dedicated to managing this complex matter.
Download Group Positions
We are actively working to make the internet a safer place for children. We aim to prevent harm to children through the following initiatives:
- Using IWF’s confidential reporting portal, MTN encourages customers and members of the public to safely and anonymously report online CSAM.
- Using neutral third-party software, we will block sites hosting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) identified by Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), whose remit is to minimise the availability of online sexual abuse content.
- We will apply our best endeavours to ensure that MTN’s third party content providers do not make CSAM available to our customers.
- We will support the work of law enforcement authorities undertaking investigations into potential sexual abuse crimes committed against children using MTN’s platforms.
- We will engage with regulators, social service agencies and other organisations working collaboratively to prevent access to online CSAM.
- We will educate children, parents, guardians and carers about how to responsibly use digital technology and ensure that children stay safe online.
Responsibility for ethics
We encourage our stakeholders to take personal responsibility for upholding the Group’s ethics, but we also have formal structures in place to assist with compliance.
While the Group’s Chief HR & Corporate Affairs Officer is responsible for ethics management, the Social & Ethics Committee is responsible for ethics governance. Ethics task teams also work with certified and registered ethics officers across our operating companies.
Summary of our social & ethics statement
The Group’s operations span diverse legal, socioeconomic and cultural contexts. This poses both opportunity and risk-based challenges to how we do business.
Globally, ICT is a catalyst for socioeconomic development. But the benefits of the rapid development of technology must be balanced with ethical and responsible application.
Wherever we operate, we adhere to sound ethical business conduct that generates economic value for our stakeholders and communities in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way.
How we act on our social & ethics statement
- Maintaining a reputation of honesty, fairness, respect, responsibility, integrity, trust and sound judgment.
- Not tolerating any form of illegal or unethical conduct from any of our stakeholders.
- Improving engagement with our stakeholders in a constructive, dialogue-driven and transparent manner.
- Integrating globally accepted and locally required protocols, standards and guidelines that direct the ethical role of business in society.
- Remaining informed about the rapidly developing benefits and risks of ICT innovation globally.
- Ensuring that our governance, policy development, technical and business processes and system capabilities evolve accordingly.
- Working with industry to bring the benefits of affordable and accessible ICT services to society.
- Continually improving the quality of our services, products and operations.
This is a report of the Independent Special Committee appointed by the Board of MTN Group Limited (“the board”) to investigate allegations by Turkcell against MTN (“the committee”).
The committee was established by resolution of the board on 1 February 2012 and asked to conduct an enquiry in accordance with the terms of reference.
The primary objective of the committee was to investigate the factual allegations of wrongdoing in the draft complaint that Turkcell raised in 2012 and advise and make recommendations to the board as to any actions to be taken in connection with those findings.
Irrespective of the validity of the claims which Turkcell sought to advance, the board felt that the nature and content of Turkcell’s allegations raised serious issues requiring thorough investigation and analysis. MTN has zero tolerance for corrupt and unethical business practices. To ensure the independence of the investigation the committee was comprised of three non-Executive Directors but importantly was chaired by Lord Hoffman a pre-eminent Jurist and member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.
Lord Hoffman confirmed that he received full cooperation from the company and was given unrestricted access to all individuals, information, documents and facilities which the committee requested. He said that there had not been the slightest attempt by the Company or its management to influence the committee in its deliberations or its report.
The committee exonerated MTN and found that Mr Kilowan who had given two statements in arbitration proceedings brought by Turkcell against the Islamic Republic of Iran and a deposition in the United States proceedings against MTN was in the words of the committee “shown to be a fantasist and a conspiracy theorist”.
The committee was entirely satisfied that there was no conspiracy between MTN and Iranian officials to remove Turkcell from the successful consortium, no promise to procure the South African government to supply defence equipment or support Iran’s nuclear policy at the IAEA, and no sham loans. The committee further found that MTN paid nothing to Ambassador Saloojee and that neither Mr Nhleko nor Ms Charnley authorised Mr Kilowan to promise him anything. Finally the committee found that there was no substance in the allegations of participation by Mr Nhleko or Mrs Charnley.
- Independent Special Committee Charter
- Report of Professor Calland
- Report on Evidence Collection
- Dramatis Personae
- The Complaint
- KPMG Report
- Expert Report of Dr Giles
- Letter from Lord Hoffman to Mr Christian Kilowan
- Hoffmann Committee Report – Final Full Repor
The King Report on Governance for South Africa 2016 (King IV) recommends that the governing bodies of organisations “should lead ethically and effectively”. The report further states that the “governing body should govern the ethics of the organisation in a way that supports the establishment of an ethical culture”. MTN has adopted a framework for the governance and management of ethics that incorporates the guidance given by King IV on ethics programmes.
In MTN, ethics management refers to our collective efforts to create and maintain a strong ethical culture. This culture is marked by ethical leadership, ethics awareness, ethical decision-making and sustained ethical behaviour.
Our efforts to strengthen our ethical culture include the following
As role models of ethical behaviour to all our stakeholders, our Board members understand and are competent in and fully committed to ethics management, and sponsor and actively support ethics management interventions.
Formal ethics governance structures
Our ethics governance structures comprise a Group Board Social and Ethics sub-Committee and a Board-level subcommittee in each operation, responsible for the governance of ethics at OpCo level. These structures set the strategy and policies guiding MTN’s ethics performance, and they exercise oversight of and report on MTN’s ethics performance to our stakeholders.
The executive management of MTN ensured that each operation has an ethics office and an operational ethics committee to effectively manage ethics. As part of MTN’s efforts to strengthen our control and compliance environment, a revised second and third line assurance model has been implemented. This assurance model provides for a clear separation in the three lines of assurance within MTN, i.e.
- First line of assurance being responsible for the business risk management function and implementation of controls to maintain a strong control and compliance environment;
- Second line of assurance being responsible for defining the risk and compliance frameworks of the organisation, oversight and monitoring of risk management, control, compliance and ethics management practices and reporting to various stakeholders;
- Third line of assurance being responsible for providing independent assurance to MTN stakeholders on the state of the control environment of the organisation.
The ethics function across the group in particular is benefitting from the strengthened control and compliance environment as dedicated management staff in Risk and Compliance now have ethics management as a core part of their portfolios.
These structures and people oversee and implement our key ethics management processes.
Ethics management processes
The governance structure and leadership oversee and implement our key ethics management processes:
- Ethics risk assessment
- Ethics strategy
- Code and policies
- “Making ethics real’
- Monitoring & reporting
Ethics risk assessment
We conduct an ethics risk assessment every three years to help us understand our ethics risk profile. This enables us to follow the King IV recommendation that the governing body should ensure that codes of conduct and ethics policies address the key ethics risks of the organisation.
MTN Group and each OpCo has a strategy and plan for managing ethics, which enables us to meet the King IV recommendation that the governing body should assume responsibility for the governance of ethics by setting the direction for how ethics should be approached and addressed by the organisation.
Code and policies
Through our code of ethics and ethics-related policies we ensure that the risks we have identified are addressed and opportunities harnessed. We also refresh our organisational values from time to time as necessary. In this way we strive to meet the King IV recommendation that the governing body should approve codes of conduct and ethics policies that articulate and give effect to its direction on organisational ethics.
Making ethics real
Our ethics management strategy and plan is implemented over the course of two to three years to ensure that everyone in the MTN consistently acts in line with our values and standards. We make ethics real through a number of initiatives implemented across our OpCos:
- Online ethics awareness programmes for employees, available in six languages
- A recognition programme to acknowledge behaviour that promotes corporate integrity
- Training on standards and ethical decision-making for all employees
- Incorporation of ethics into our global talent standards for recruitment and retention
- Communication through awareness campaigns
- Confidential whistle-blowing lines and disciplinary processes
Monitoring and reporting
The MTN Group ethics office reports to the Group Board Social and Ethics subcommittee on progress with the ethics management plan as well as the state of ethics in MTN, in line with the King IV recommendation that the governing body should ensure that measures are taken to monitor organisational ethics and how the outcomes are addressed.
Independent assessment of our ethics management processes
MTN’s ethics management processes are assessed independently by Internal Audit. We report on our ethics performance to our external stakeholders in our integrated sustainability and annual reports, as well as to international independent standards organisations that help us understand and communicate our impact on our ethical culture.
Our code of ethics
With operations spanning the Middle East and Africa, we comply with local regulations and international laws. Our Social & Ethics Committee reviews our Code of Ethics regularly, keeping it up to date with global best practice. We expect our suppliers and partners to share the same ethical standards as our employees.
We conduct our business affairs with honesty, integrity, diligence, and professionalism. We believe this leads to success.
Compliance with laws and regulations
We do business in full compliance with the laws of each country we operate in, including:
- International trade laws and regulations, embargoes and sanctions
- Competition laws
- Fraud, anti-bribery and corruption laws
- Anti-money laundering laws
- Intellectual property laws
- Human rights and equal opportunity obligations
We have set out a number of ethical policies to enhance business governance and guide business conduct. Download our policy positions here.
Conflicts of interest
We take our responsibilities and obligations to the company seriously, and the Group has processes in place to help us identify and manage any potential conflicts of interest .
Effective and transparent corporate governance keeps our business in line with global best practice, and helps us maintain and conserve our physical, financial and intellectual resources while maximizing shareholders returns.
The Group maintains accurate and complete records in accordance with all applicable laws. We adhere to King IV and follow International Financial Reporting Standards in compiling annual financial statements.
We also have controls in place, through institutions and dedicated management positions, to help us assess and manage risks to the business and to our people.
Customer treatment and service
We respect our customers’ right to privacy. They entrust us with their personal information, and it’s our duty to protect it. We owe our customers professional service that’s fair and courteous, and high-quality products that meet or exceed their expectations.
Vendors and suppliers
Selected through a transparent process based on objective criteria and evidence, our vendors and suppliers must uphold our ethical principles and comply with local and international laws.
We support and respect human rights in our workplace. This includes providing a safe and non-threatening workplace where healthy working conditions are maintained, where all people are treated with respect and with due regard for their dignity, and where harassment and intimidation are not tolerated.
We guarantee freedom of association, ensure non-discrimination in personal personnel practices, and make reasonable accommodation for all employees’’ religious observations and practices.
We respect our employees’ privacy and the confidentiality of the personal information.
Interactions with government
We maintain transparent, ethical relationships with governments, their agencies, officials and personnel.
Business communications are honest, accurate and timeous. We never comment unfavourably on our competitors products, management or operations.
Commitment to communities, society and the environment
Contributing to socioeconomic development is important wherever we operate. We support democratic institutions, engage NGOs and policy groups, and find ways to uplift local communities. We’re compliant with all environmental laws and hold ourselves accountable to the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour standards, environmental responsibility and anti-corruption. We also follow the Global Reporting Initiative’s Guidelines on sustainability reporting.
At all times we are professional and competent, respect the traditions and culture of all people, and refrain from behaviour that’s offensive, intimidating, malicious or discriminatory.
The Hoffmann Committee Report
This is a report of the Independent Special Committee appointed by the Board of MTN Group Limited (“the board”) to investigate allegations by Turkcell gainst MTN(“the committee”).
The committee was established by resolution of the board on 1 February 2012 and asked to conduct an enquiry in accordance with the terms of reference.
The internet opens up a wonderful new world for learning, working and playing.
Sometimes though, the internet can be misused. MTN is working hard to make the internet a safe place for children. We aim to prevent people from accessing and sharing pictures, videos and other child sexual abuse content, but we need your help too. If you see any images, videos or other information showing children being sexually abused online, report it confidentially here . It will take you less than a minute. Your action may help young victims from being further abused.
What happens when you report?
- You can enter your details if you would like feedback. Just so you know, this option doesn’t provide anonymity, and we’ll have your email address for a period of three months.
- You can also report anonymously. This means we will not have any contact details on record for you and won’t be able to tell you what happened with your report. We will still investigate as shown below.
- Our international partner, Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will investigate all reports.
- IWF will work with country partner hotlines or international law enforcement agencies to ensure confirmed cases of child sexual abuse content on the internet are removed at source.
- Police agencies will investigate further and take action to prosecute criminals wherever possible.
Protecting children online is a global challenge, which requires a global approach.
Online safety is a community challenge and an opportunity for industry, government and civil society to work together to establish safety principles and practices. MTN believes that it is critical to educate children, parents, teachers and caregivers about how to responsibly use digital technology to ensure that children stay safe online. This information section provides safety tips and guides which can be utilised by all.
Social ethics and sustainability
The Social, Ethics and Sustainability Committee (SESC) has oversight of MTN’s strategic sustainability ambitions, progress and milestones.
The SESC performs a monitoring role to ensure that MTN’s business is conducted in an ethical and properly governed manner. The Committee assists the Board with creating shared value through responsible environmental, economic, social and governance business practices across MTN’s operating markets. During 2021, the SESC approved our Sustainability Strategic Framework, outlining key performance indicators and linking executive remuneration to ESG targets.
21 Days of Y’ello Care As the restrictions on COVID-19 have been lifted, the numbers of beneficiaries reached has decreased as most Opcos moved back to face-to-face interventions. This has resulted in more focused engagements with beneficiaries, and a greater lasting impact on their lives. 2022 brought back the Y’ello Care initiatives, providing a mechanism for employees to once again engage with community projects in a more hands-on manner. Overall employee engagement also increased with the reduction in COVID-19 protocols, meaning our MTNers had more opportunities to work closely within the communities in which they operate.
We strive to ensure that women and men benefit equally from a modern connected life by investing in programmes that ensure girls, female youth and women have the necessary digital skills and knowledge to match their male counterparts.
In Côte d’Ivoire, the MTN Foundation’s STEM Girlz project trained 200 young girls in robotics, coding, chemistry and computer science and in Benin, scholarships were awarded to promote study in ICT and telecommunications, particularly among girl students. Other initiatives across our footprint aim to empower women to run and manage their own businesses, while also incorporating digital solutions to enhance and simplify the daily management of their operations, using Mobile Money.